Painting by Ana Teresa Fernández.

I had to meet someone downtown at 111 Minna Wednesday, so I thought I would walk over to the Wendi Norris Gallery at 161 Jessie St to see Mission resident’s Ana Teresa Fernández’s show “Foreign Bodies.”

I’ve loved her work since Stefania Rousselle profiled her in the summer of 2009 for Mission Local when Fernández was a finalist for a public art project on Valencia. You can see Rousselle’s video at the bottom of this post.

The work in this show, like work I have seen earlier, documents Fernández’z time at the U.S./Mexican border. It includes paintings, photographs and videos. While some of the photographs have a wonderful sense of the undulating impact of a horse plunging into water, it is the paintings I love most.

The canvas’s juxtapose the fragments of an elegant women—a face, her legs, her feet in high heels, against a border fence.

The paintings suggest details of a larger work, and the body fragments, wrought in sharp, clear colors of sea, skin and a white fence evoke different emotions. The profile of a woman’s head suggests longing or frustration depending on whether you think she is peering through the fence or leaning her forehead against it.

In another, a woman wearing a dress or skirt that falls just above the knees shows her legs from mid-thigh to lower calf. She is leaning against the fence with her legs slightly away from it. She defines the fence and the fence defines her.

In another painting, we see the detail of a a woman’s legs—her feet slipped into high heels—standing parallel to the fence. This position suggests an equality to the fence. Maybe she will ask it to dance. Maybe she won’t give it the time of day.

But you should. The show opened on April 3 and is only up until May 31st.

It is well worth seeing and there is a second show, featuring Lenora Carrington, a British-born Mexican artist who died in 2011 at the age of 93. The works are from the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the gallery’s website writes “ where the first solo museum exhibition has been on view since Carrington’s death. 

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Founder/Executive Editor. I’ve been a Mission resident since 1998 and a professor emeritus at Berkeley’s J-school since 2019 when I retired. I got my start in newspapers at the Albuquerque Tribune in the city where I was born and raised. Like many local news outlets, The Tribune no longer exists. I left daily newspapers after working at The New York Times for the business, foreign and city desks. Lucky for all of us, it is still there.

As an old friend once pointed out, local has long been in my bones. My Master’s Project at Columbia, later published in New York Magazine, was on New York City’s experiment in community boards.

Right now I'm trying to figure out how you make that long-held interest in local news sustainable. The answer continues to elude me.

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